What is action research and how do we do it?

In this article, we explore the development of some different traditions of action research and provide an introductory guide to the literature. contents: what is action research? · origins · the decline and rediscovery of action research · undertaking action research · conclusion · further reading · how to cite this article. see, also: research for […]

Jane Addams: Socialized education

Jane Addams’ (1910) discussion of the educational contribution of social settlements – Chapter XVIII of Twenty Years at Hull House, New York: Macmillan. Jane Addams (1869-1935) is, perhaps, best known as a pioneering social worker and social activist, however she was also a committed internationalist and critical intellectual. She introduced and developed the idea of […]

What is adult education?

What is adult education? Is adult education a practice or a program? A methodology or an organization? A ‘science’ or a system? A process or a profession? See also: What is education? A definition and discussion Is adult education a practice or a program? A methodology or an organization? A ‘science’ or a system? A process […]

Adult education and lifelong learning – southern critiques and alternatives

Adult education and lifelong learning – southern critiques and alternatives. What can northern educators learn from the experience of the south? A review and introductory reading list. Contents: context · resisting colonialism · respecting local forms · looking to the whole rather than the individual · implications for the north  · references · how to […]

Adult Education Committee (1919) Voluntary organizations and adult education

Chapter VII of the famous 1919 Report on adult education. [page 112] 202. It will not, we think, be denied that adult non-vocational education has owed its main inspiration and the success it has attained to voluntary organisations of various kinds, and particularly those established for educational purposes. Whilst we frankly recognise the part which […]

Adult schools and the making of adult education

Adult schools and the making of adult education. The adult school movement starting in the late 1790s, while for most of the time only small in numbers, was a significant element in the making of adult education in Britain. This article briefly surveys the history and impact of such schools. contents: introduction · the emergence […]

Adult schools: The organization of the class – J. Wilhelm Rowntree and Henry Bryan Binns

Westminster Friends Meeting House on St Martin’s Avenue had its own adult school with an entrance on Hop Alley In this (1903) piece J. Wilhelm Rowntree and Henry Bryan Binns examine the nature of teaching in adult schools in the early twentieth century and recognize the significance of democracy, fellowship and ‘systematic husbandry’. contents: preface […]

Andragogy: what is it and does it help thinking about adult learning?

Andragogy: what is it and does it help thinking about adult learning? The notion of andragogy has been around for nearly two centuries. It became particularly popular in North America and Britain as a way of describing adult learning through the work of Malcolm Knowles. But what actually does it mean, and how useful a […]

Hannah Arendt and Jean Baudrillard: pedagogy in the consumer society

Hannah Arendt and Jean Baudrillard: pedagogy in the consumer society. Trevor Norris explores the contribution of Hannah Arendt and Jean Baudrillard to our appreciation of the consumer society and education. Contents: introduction · the rise of consumerism · Hannah Arendt: consuming the polis · Jean Baudrillard: consuming signs · the consumer society and education · […]

Henrietta Barnett, social reform and community building

Henrietta Barnett, social reform and community building. Henrietta Barnett is, perhaps, best known for the development of Hampstead Garden suburb, but she – with Samuel Barnett – was an important social reformer. Their most notable innovation was the university settlement – but they were also active in other arenas. contents: introduction and life · toynbee […]

Augusto Boal, animation and education

Augusto Boal at Riverside Church in New York City 2008. Picture by Jonathan McIntosh Augusto Boal, animation and education. Known for his work around forum theatre and the theatre of the oppressed, Boal has interesting things to say about animation and education Temporary page In Boal’s work around forum theatre, invisible theatre and the theatre […]

Pierre Bourdieu on education: Habitus, capital, and field. Reproduction in the practice of education

contents: introduction • Pierre Bourdieu – life • habitus • field • capital • exploring reproduction • developing practice • conclusion • references and further reading • acknowledgements • how to cite this piece Pierre Bourdieu’s exploration of how the social order is reproduced, and inequality persists across generations, is more pertinent than ever. We examine some […]

Josephine Macalister Brew, youth work and informal education

One of the most ‘able, wise and sympathetic educationalists of her generation’, Josephine Macalister Brew made a profound contribution to the development of thinking about, and practice of, youth work and informal education. contents: introduction · life ·  in the service of youth · informal education · innovations in practice· final days · references · […]

Tom Bryan: association, education and the making of Fircroft College

Tom Bryan pioneered the adaptation of Folk High Schools to English adult education at Fircroft College and argued that solidarity and the facility for association lay at the heart of educational endeavour. contents: introduction · early career · woodbrooke and fircroft · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article Tom Bryan (1865-1917) was […]

Calling and informal education

Calling and informal education. The notion of calling, once rather unfashionable, has re-emerged as an organizing idea within education. Michele Erina Doyle examines calling and vocation, and sets them in particular within Christian discourse. She argues that fulfilling our calling as informal educators means we work with others for the processes of knowing, testing, naming, […]

Revd. Philip (Tubby) Clayton and Toc H

Revd. Philip (Tubby) Clayton and Toc H. Philip (‘Tubby’) Clayton was Vicar of All Hallows by the Tower. However, he was best known for his work initially as an army chaplain during the First World War and in particular the establishment of Talbot House a unique place of rest and sanctuary for British troops. After […]

Club work

  On this page we explore the nature of clubs and how they came to be a key site of informal education activity. Focusing on developments in Britain, we examine their benefits and some of the issues that face those that work in, and with, them. To be completed contents: introduction · philanthropy · parish […]

Coffee houses and informal education

 Mid sevententh century coffee house, Wikimedia Commons pd The first coffee house appeared in 1650 and they became major forces in learning. Coffee houses, as forums for debate and discussion, played an important part in the general diffusion of knowledge and ideas (Kelly 1970: 82). The first is said to have appeared in Oxford in […]

Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice

Jean Lave, Etiene Wenger and communities of practice. The idea that learning involves a deepening process of participation in a community of practice has gained significant ground in recent years. Communities of practice have also become an important focus within organizational development and have considerable value when thinking about working with groups. In this article […]

Offering community to children and young people in schools and local organizations

Mark K Smith explores how, in the context of the ‘new normal’, educators, pedagogues and practitioners need to offer community to children and young people. This article is part of a series: dealing with the new normal • offering sanctuary • offering community • offering hope] contents: introduction • friendship • social capital • associational life […]

What is community development?

What is community development? The idea of community development grew, in large part, out of the activities of colonial administrators. We examine this legacy and the theory and practice that emerged. We also look to the body of overlapping ideas, including community participation, community organization and community work. In this piece we suggest that community […]

Community education

What is community education? A guide and booklist. Broadly, we can approach community education as ‘education for community within community’. In other words, something called ‘community‘ is not just the place or context in which education is to occur, fostering community is also a central concern. The process of becoming part of an existing social […]

Explore the theory and practice of community education

What actually is community education? How does it differ from education in the community, or education for community? We explore the theory of community education and some examples of practice using resources from The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. In England, and many other countries, ‘community education’ has tended to be wrapped up with […]

Community education: being a description of the work of residential and non-residential colleges for adult education

Maryport Educational Settlement This 1938 publication from the Educational Settlements Association provides a useful overview of activity at that time. contents: preface · introduction · community education · the association · the residential colleges · educational settlements in normal areas · educational settlements in special areas · examples of courses · membership of the esa […]

Community participation, community development and non-formal education

Community participation, community development and non-formal education. In this piece, Marjorie Mayo explores competing perspectives based upon different theoretical approaches to social change, and to combating poverty and disadvantage. This piece was first published in 1994. contents: introduction • non-formal education and community education • competing definitions and perspectives in the contemporary context • the state and top-down […]

What is community work?

What is community work? How has it developed in the UK? What is it’s current state? We review thinking and practice in the field of community work, and question the direction it is currently taking. contents: introduction · the emergence of community work · the gulbenkian report: community work and social change · the community […]

What is competence? What is competency?

Competence and competency. What is competence? How has it been reduced to competency? What is the impact on education and training? Contents: introduction · what is competence? · competency and product approaches · curriculum as process · conclusion · further reading · acknowledgements · how to cite this article Over the last twenty years the […]

Dialogue and conversation for learning, education and change

Dialogue and conversation  for learning, education and change. ‘Dialogue’, Freire says, ‘is the encounter between men, mediated by the world, in order to name the world’. Here we explore this idea – and its roots. Contents: introduction · Gadamer – horizons of understanding · emotions and virtues · Habermas: dialogue, power and distortion · Bohm on […]

Charles Dickens and informal education

Charles Dickens and informal education. Already the most famous English novelist when Victoria came to the throne, he continued to chronicle his age and became an important facilitator of self-education. Charles Dickens (1812-70).  Critical success came to Dickens quite early in life. The Pickwick Papers was published in 20 monthly installments beginning in 1836; Oliver […]

What is education? A definition and discussion

Education is the wise, hopeful and respectful cultivation of learning undertaken in the belief that all should have the chance to share in life. Mark K Smith explores the meaning of education and suggests it is a process of inviting truth and possibility. contents: introduction • education – cultivating hopeful environments and relationships for learning […]

Education for democracy

contents: · introduction · the meaning of democracy and the meaning of education · John Dewey, democracy and education · A. S. Neill on democratic schooling · · further reading and references One of the major tasks that education must perform in a democratic society, Kelly (1995: 101) argues, ‘is the proper preparation of young […]

Education and civic life

Tom Bryan’s (1912) paper was an important statement of education involving the whole person and looking to solidarity and association. contents: preface · introduction · education as the development of faculties through knowledge · education as development of the whole person · education for solidarity and association · how to cite this piece Tom Bryan […]

Educational settlements

Educational settlements. Mark Freeman explores the development of educational settlements in Britain and the significant role that Quakerism played. He also outlines some of the key issues they have faced. Contents: introduction · origins of the educational settlement movement · the role of educational settlements · educational settlements in the ‘special areas’ · crisis and […]

Evaluation for education, learning and change – theory and practice

Evaluation  for education, learning and change – theory and practice. Evaluation is part and parcel of educating – yet it can be experienced as a burden and an unnecessary intrusion. We explore the theory and practice of evaluation and some of the key issues for informal and community educators, social pedagogues youth workers and others. In […]

Facilitating learning and change in groups and group sessions

Facilitating learning and change in groups and group sessions. Just what is facilitation, and what does it involve? We explore the theory and practice of facilitation, and some key issues around facilitating group sessions. Contents: introduction · what is group facilitation? · core conditions and the facilitator · the facilitator’s role · core values ·  […]

The development of folk high schools

A survey of their development and listing of key texts. Contents: introduction • the development of folk high schools in Denmark • folk high schools beyond Denmark • further reading and references • acknowledgements • how to cite this piece The first Folk High School first opened in 1844 (the year the YMCA was founded). […]

Friendship theory: some philosophical and sociological themes

Friendship: some philosophical and sociological themes. Many people’s understanding of friendship in northern societies is rather thin. We explore some classical views of friendship, the development of theory and practice in ‘modern’ societies, and some key aspects of the current experience of friendship. On a linked page we examine some of the implications for educators. […]

Feature: Friendship and education

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash In this set of articles we examine some key questions surrounding the theory and experience of friendship – and the significance for education and educators. Friendship theory Many people’s understanding of friendship in northern societies is rather thin. We explore some classical views of friendship, the development of theory […]

Friendship and education

Friendship and education. Today received wisdom has it that educators should be friendly with those they work with, but not friends. But is this right? We examine the nature of friendship – and ask whether its cultivation should be an aim of educators and part of education. We also explore the possibilities and problems friendship […]

Full-service schooling

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash The idea of full-service schooling aroused considerable interest. In the United States a range of initiatives were taken; and it has been considered as a serious policy option in Britain and Australia. But what is it and what issues surround it? contents: introduction · what is a full-service school? […]

Mahatma Gandhi on education

Mahatma Gandhi on education. His critique of western, particularly English, education was part of his critique of Western ‘civilization’ as a whole. Barry Burke explores his vision. contents: early life · swaraj and swadishi · on education · references · links · how to reference this piece The real difficulty is that people have no […]

Globalization: theory and experience

Globalization: theory and experience.’Globalization’ is a favourite catchphrase of journalists and politicians. It has also become a key idea for business theory and practice, and entered academic debates. But what people mean by ‘globalization’ is often confused and confusing. Here we examine some key themes in the theory and experience of globalization. Contents: introduction · […]

Globalization and the incorporation of education

Globalization and the incorporation of education. Here we draw out some of the profound implications of globalization for education and the work of educators. As part of this we also look at some of the issues surrounding the increased presence of corporations and branding in education. Contents:  introduction · globalization, commodification and the corporate takeover […]

What is a group?

What is a group? How are we to approach groups? In this article we review the development of theory about groups. We look at some different definitions of groups, and some of the key dimensions to bear in mind when thinking about them. contents: introduction · the development of thinking about groups · defining ‘group’ […]

What is groupwork?

What is groupwork? While many practitioners may describe what they do as ‘groupwork’, they often have only a limited appreciation of what groupwork is and what it entails. In this piece we introduce groups and group work, define some key aspects, and suggest areas for exploration. In particular we focus on the process of working […]

Social groupwork: formulation of a method, 1920-1936

In this important (1981) piece Kenneth E. Reid explores a pivotal time in the development of the theory and practice of working with groups within social work. He assesses the contribution of Grace Coyle, W. I. Newstetter and other key figures and reflects on the emergence of ‘social group work’. Contents: preface · introduction · […]

N. F. S. Grundtvig, folk high schools and popular education

N. F. S. Grundtvig, folk high schools and popular education. Nikolai Frederick Grundtvig (1783-1872) was a prolific writer contributing major works in theology, education, literature, politics, and history. He was also a poet and hymn-writer. Outside Denmark he is probably best known for his contribution to educational thought and practice, and to social reform – […]

Happiness and education – theory, practice and possibility

Happiness and education – theory, practice and possibility. What makes us flourish – and what does not? We explore the theory, practice and possibilities of putting happiness at the centre of education and helping. Contents: introduction – why all the interest in happiness? · what is happiness? · what makes us happy and unhappy? · […]

A brief introduction to holistic education

A brief introduction to holistic education. What is holistic education? What are the primary philosophies that distinguish it from traditional education? Who were the pioneers in holistic education? Ron Miller provides an introduction. Contents: · holistic education · holistic education resources · links to holistic organizations and schools · how to cite this article Holistic […]

bell hooks on education

bell hooks on education. Barry Burke assesses the contribution that bell hooks has made to thinking about education and sets this within the context of her biography and work. contents: introduction · bell hooks on education · hooks and freire · relationships, power and media · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article […]